Our son is Robert. Early on he made it clear that he was Robert, not Bob or Bobby or Rob. Another thing he did early on was to let us know he could cook.
I like to think that because I’ve done the vast majority of the cooking in our family, Robert saw my example and that’s what got him into cooking. I’d like to think that but I would be wrong. Robert was born with a natural ability to appreciate colors, flavors and presentation when he cooks. He naturally enjoys cooking just like I do.
One of the neat things is that I have learned from him. He was the one that taught me to plate my food properly. “Dad” he said, “you eat with your eyes. Make it look good before you serve it.” He was also the one that taught me to correctly pronounce Gnocchi.
Robert was cooking oatmeal (totally supervised) by the time he was in first grade. By the time he was in seventh grade he had created his own cheese enchilada recipe and was cooking it (unsupervised) for family and friends. By the time he was in high school he was preparing 4-course meals for his friends for which they were glad to pay. I was his proud sous-chef (Yes chef! Right away chef!) and was happy to clean up the kitchen while he sat with his friends to enjoy their company and his food.
Here’s something Robert cooked for us the last time he visited from Sacramento. He prepared it from scratch after seeing something similar in a deli display and calls it Cold Edamame Salad. His recipe is loosely as follows:
2 cups fresh shelled edamame (frozen is OK)
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen is OK)
1 cup black beans (rinsed and drained from a 15-ounce can)
1/4 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/3 cup lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
Combine all ingredients except for the avocado pieces. Stir well. Add the avocados being careful not to mash them while stirring into the rest of the salad. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.